Stories you shouldn’t miss:
1. Democratic legislative leaders want to raise income tax rates and vehicle license fees, while slashing the state sales tax, as a way to help bridge California’s $18 billion budget gap, the Chron reports. The Democratic plan also would implement an oil severance tax and delay corporate tax breaks. Democrats say the changes would actually decrease the annual tax burden for lower and middle income Californians, while increasing state revenues. But Governor Schwarzenegger has vowed to veto any plan that includes raising taxes.
2. Gay marriage opponents are readying themselves for an expected defeat today in federal court and are already planning an appeal, the Chron reports. Judge Vaughn Walker is expected to declare Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional when he releases his ruling this afternoon, but backers of the anti gay-marriage law have asked him to keep it in place during the appeals process.
3. The only way to save the ailing Sacramento/San Joaquin River Delta is to allow much more freshwater to flow through it to San Francisco Bay, the State Water Resources Control Board declared yesterday as it adopted a recently completed environmental report. The board’s move was hailed by environmentalists and criticized by state agribusiness interests, although it is nonbinding, the CoCo Times reports.
4. UC Berkeley’s controversial decision to collect DNA samples from incoming freshmen this fall is prompting state legislative hearings on the issue next week, the CoCo Times reports. Critics of the Cal program are concerned about how the university plans to safeguard students’ genetic information.
5. Oakland’s National Night Out events drew more than 25,000 people last night in more than 450 locations across the city, the Tribune reports. National Night Out brings residents together to help combat crime in their neighborhoods.
6. And the all-electric Nissan Leaf car likely will be eligible for a $5,000 rebate for this year for California residents, while Chevy’s new Volt, a plug-in hybrid, will not, the Chron reports.